Idling life away like an idiot or a madman

Idling life away like an idiot or a madman

(Joseph Philpot, “The Soul’s Growth in Grace” 1837)

When one is spiritually reborn, he sees

at one and the same moment . . .

God and self,

justice and guilt,

power and helplessness,

a holy law and a broken commandment,

eternity and time,

the purity of the Creator, and

the filthiness of the creature.

And these things he sees, not merely as

declared in the Bible, but as revealed in

himself as personal realities, involving all

his happiness or all his misery in time and

in eternity. Thus it is with him as though

a new existence had been communicated,

and as if for the first time he had found

there was a God!

It is as though all his days he had been asleep,

and were now awakened; asleep upon the top of

a mast, with the raging waves beneath; as if all

his past life were a dream, and the dream were

now at an end. He has been . . .

hunting butterflies,

blowing soap bubbles,

angling for minnows,

picking daisies,

building houses of cards, and

idling life away like an idiot or a madman.

He had been perhaps wrapped up in a religious

profession, advanced even to the office of a deacon,

or mounted in a pulpit. He had learned to talk about

Christ, and election, and grace, and fill his mouth

with the language of Zion.

But what did he experimentally know of these

things? Nothing, absolutely nothing!

Ignorant of his own ignorance (of all kinds of

ignorance the worst), he thought himself rich,

and increased with goods, and to have need of

nothing; and knew not that he was wretched,

and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.

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